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The Latest Trend in Arts and Biz: Corporate Sponsored Artist-in-Residency Programs

Posted by Kellyn Lopes
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Artist-in-residency programs traditionally exist in the realm of the nonprofit world and are financed by generous patrons. Organizations, such as Hedgebrook in Washington State, offer retreat-like residencies for artists to work on a specific artistic project for multiple weeks, in Hedgebrook’s case, writers. As we observe the changing trends and shifts in Corporate Social Responsibility, there arises a new trend in the artist-in-residency programs: corporations.

 

Amy Wheeler, Executive Director of Hedgebrook, praises corporate artist-in-residency programs: "It sends a cultural message that artists are valuable, and the work they do is important."

 

A recent article by Fast Company highlights some of the many ways corporations are hosting artists-in-residence. Autodesk, a San Francisco-based software company, for example, views the resident artists as a focus group, taking advantage of the creative ways artists use their technologies while the company develops the software.

 

PhotoNoah Weinstein, Senior Creative Programs Manager at Autodesk said, “Artists are great explorers and discoverers when it comes to using technology. They are asking the software to do things that it does not usually do; they point out when things do not work and shed light on new functionalities at the cutting edge.”

 

Amtrak, on the other hand, invited writers onto their train not to advise, but to write, resulting in a widely successful social media campaign. Alicia Lee, Senior Communication Specialist for Social Media noted, “We exposed our long-distance service to a huge audience. When people think about trains, they think about the Northeast or the Pacific Northwest corridors. But with this residency, we were getting more eyeballs on other parts of our service, including cross-country travel.”

 

Another corporate artist-in-residency program is through Facebook. This commissioning program invites artists into corporate offices to create permanent works, often in the form of murals and sculptures. Facebook covers the cost of materials to produce the work and gives the artist a predetermined fee. Learn more about Facebook’s residency.

 

Click Here to read the full article from Fast Company, “Welcome to the Brave New World of the Corporate-Sponsored Artist.”

 

Photo: artist studio signage at Facebook, courtesy of Art Business.

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